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The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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contrast   (3 meanings)
3 meanings, 3 uses
1  —1 use as in:
contrast their writing styles
Norah thought of Sam's bedroom, the riot of colors there, and how tranquil this seemed in contrast, the colors stable, fixed, falling through the air.
in contrast = a comparison that shows differences
From page 304.2  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
point to differences between; or compare to show differences
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useSection 1982, p.304.2
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
there is a contrast
Doro's hair was pure white now, in striking contrast to her dark eyes, her smooth olive skin.
contrast = notable difference
From page 159.9  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
a difference — especially a notable difference; or the side-x-side arrangement of things that draws attention to an unmissable difference
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useSection 1970, p.159.9
Web Links
3  —1 use as in:
sharpen the picture contrast
...a series of photos of a human vein, taken in sequence, in gradations of precisely controlled light, the level of contrast changing subtly with each one.
contrast = difference between tones of an image
From page 152.7  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
the difference between tones of an image — as in a photo or video — such as the quality of brightness or the intensity of shades or colors
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 1970, p.152.7
Web Links
deft
6 uses
His head bent over the guitar, his fingers deft, the music a language both mysterious and beautiful, would move David to tears.
deft = skillful
From page 322  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 1970, p.166.2
Web Links
elegant
8 uses
1  —8 uses as in:
an elegant gown
It was an old two-story house, split almost exactly in half, with thin partitions dividing what had been expansive rooms; even the stairway, once wide and elegant, had been cut in half.
elegant = refined and tasteful in appearance
From page 310.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of elegant means:
refined and tasteful in appearance, behavior or style
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 1982, p.292.4
Web Links
fleeting
7 uses
You couldn't blame him, no, you couldn't fault him for wanting to go deeper into every fleeting moment, to study its mystery, to shout against loss and change and motion.
fleeting = lasting a short time
From page 329.4  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 1964, p.33.5
Web Links
focus   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 15 uses
1  —11 uses as in:
Turn your focus to question #2.
His father had delivered his own twins in the middle of an unexpected storm, following the steps he knew by heart, keeping his focus on the pulse and heart rate of the woman on the table, the taut skin, the crowning head.
focus = concentration
From page 399.5  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of focus means:
verb: to concentrate, look at, or pay attention to

noun: the act of concentration, or the ability to concentrate

(to concentrate is to direct attention or effort towards a single thing)
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library57 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useSection 1970, p.134.2
Web Links
2  —4 uses as in:
The camera focuses automatically
David must have been testing the range of his camera, keeping the subject the same and varying the focus, the aperture, the available light.
focus = lens adjustment
From page 363.8  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of focus means:
to adjust a lens to make an image clear
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 1970, p.149.4
Web Links
however
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
However much she tried...
But however hard he worked to make Paul's life smooth and easy, the fact remained that David had built that life on a lie.†
however = regardless of how
From page 258.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of however means:
to whatever degree (regardless of how much; or whatever unspecified amount)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 1970, p.148.7
Web Links
imply
1 use
Sometimes he came across his photographs, in textbooks or hanging on the walls of private offices or homes, and he was startled by their cold beauty, their technical precision—sometimes, even, by the hungry searching that their emptiness implied.
implied = showed indirectly
From page 319.3  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally imply means:
to suggest or say indirectly — possibly as a logical consequence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useSection 1988, p.319.3
Web Links
luminous
6 uses
And on the dresser David's daffodils, delicate as skin and almost luminous, collecting the light from the hall.
luminous = glowing or shining
From page 52.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally luminous means:
glowing or shining

(also used metaphorically to describe beauty or intelligence)
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 1964, p.29.5
Web Links
negative
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
negative feedback from customers
I've sent other people there, in the past. I've heard nothing negative.
negative = critical or bad
From page 64.8  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of negative means:
to express criticism or disagreement, or (especially when talking over a radio or in a military setting) to say "no"
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useSection 1964, p.64.8
Web Links
pensive
6 uses
Phoebe, at thirteen, was short for her age, chubby, still impulsive and impassioned, slow to learn but moving from joy to pensiveness to sadness and back to joy with an astonishing speed.
pensiveness = deep thought

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-ness" converts an adjective to a noun that means state or degree of. This is the same pattern you see in words like darkness, kindness, and coolness.)
From page 221.8  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally pensive means:
appearing deep in thought — typically looking sad or serious
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 1977, p.221.8
Web Links
pragmatic
2 uses
There was a single car in the clinic parking lot, the nurse's powder-blue Fairlane, conservative and pragmatic and newer than his own.
pragmatic = practical
From page 11.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally pragmatic means:
concerned with practical matters — especially where quick results and/or practical experience triumph over theory
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useSection 1964, p.11.9
Web Links
reflection   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
my reflection in the mirror
David, putting on his tie, watched Paul's reflection in the mirror.
reflection = image
From page 143.3  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflection means:
an image (seen on a mirror or other shiny surface)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 1970, p.143.3
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
is a reflection of American values
She used the same tone, but to her the unrest seemed deeply personal, a reflection of what had been going on within her heart for years.
reflection = demonstration or expression
From page 127.8  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflection means:
something that indirectly shows something else — such as an indication, demonstration, expression, or representation of something
The exact meaning of this sense of reflection depends upon its context. For example:
  • "The students' behavior is a reflection on the school." — indication of quality
  • "She says the immorality in the movie is a reflection of American values." — expression or representation
  • "It was a reflection of the selfishness she had seen growing for years." — demonstration
  • "The surrounding panic found no reflection in her." — expression or demonstration
  • "I saw no reflection of jealousy in her action." — indication or sign
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useSection 1970, p.127.8
Web Links
tentative
6 uses
1  —6 uses as in:
said it tentatively
This, finally, was what had pained his mother most, the lost years standing between them, their words so tentative and formal where ease and love should have been.
tentative = cautious
From page 392.7  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of tentative means:
done in a careful or unsure way (indicating a lack of confidence in exactly what will happen)
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useSection 1964, p.24.6
Web Links
tone
14 uses
She thought of the elementary school, just a mile away, the order there and the ordinariness, and she thought of Kay Marshall's disapproving tone, and yet she kept going.
tone = the general feeling, mood, or attitude of something
From page 130.8  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of tone means:
the general feeling, mood, or attitude of something — especially of something said or written
Word Statistics
Book14 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useSection 1964, p.51
Web Links
trace   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 10 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
found a trace of
The car he'd stolen had been found deserted on a side street in Louisville last night, but there had been no trace of Paul.
trace = indication or sign
From page 294.7  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of trace means:
a small quantity; or any indication or evidence of
The exact meaning of this sense of trace depends upon its context. For example:
  • a small indication that something was present — as in "The plane disappeared somewhere over the Pacific Ocean without leaving a trace."
  • a very small amount of something — as in "The blood test showed a trace of steroids."
  • any evidence of something — as in "We did not find a trace of the gene."
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useSection 1964, p.16.7
Web Links
2  —6 uses as in:
traced a path
He wanted to reach out and trace the delicate curved bones of her ribs; he wanted to kiss her at the point the bones met, stretching away like wings.
trace = track or follow (with his finger)
From page 114.4  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of trace means:
to follow
The exact meaning of this sense of trace depends upon its context. For example:
  • "The hunters traced the deer into the woods." — followed or tracked
  • "With soft kisses, she gently traced the scar running down his cheek." — followed
  • "The path traces along the edge of the forest." — follows
  • "A single tear traced its way down her cheek." — followed a specific path
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 1970, p.152.9
Web Links
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